When managed correctly, a private cloud can be a worthwhile investment for certain businesses. It comes with almost all the benefits of public clouds minus the data privacy concerns. Of course, not everyone can afford a private cloud, especially the kind that’s built on-premise (i.e. not virtual private clouds offered by CSPs). So who should invest in one?
In this post, we look at some major indicators that denote a company’s suitability for a private cloud investment.
You have business units with constantly changing computing needs
Different business units have different computing needs. At certain times, one business unit may require considerably more CPU, RAM, storage capacity, and network bandwidth than the others. Not only that, each unit’s demand for computing resources can also vary from time to time.
For example, in the next couple of months, your marketing department might be rolling out a massive marketing campaign and incur the biggest demand. But once the campaign ends, their demand will likely subside and another business unit, say accounting, may take their place in demanding more computing power.
When you have a private cloud, it’s easy to address these changing demands because you can reallocate or redirect resources as needed. You can spin up virtual servers for a particular business unit when that unit’s computing demand spikes, spin them down when the demand drops, and then spin up another set of servers as soon as another unit’s demand shoots up.
You develop your own applications
In-house software application development can foster a culture of innovation in an organisation. This can lead to unique technological advantages over competitors. Although not all businesses develop their own applications, many of those who do have highly sporadic computing requirements.
If you have in-house programmers who do application development and testing, you should know that their work is often accompanied by busy workloads. During testing, for instance, developers subject apps to a wide range of tests and some of these tests are intended to simulate peak capacity.
These simulations would often need a large number of servers. Again, with a private cloud, you can easily address this demand by spinning up virtual machines. Once the test is done, those VMs can be as easily spun down.
You have a besieged IT team
Spinning servers up and down is not something you can easily do in a traditional IT environment. Even if you’re already using virtual machines but are handling them manually, that exercise is going to require a great deal of effort and time. More so if you’re dealing with physical servers. It could take you weeks or even months to provision the servers needed for a single massive project.
What if you have a chain of big projects in the pipeline? This can put considerable strain in an already overloaded IT department. A private cloud can spare your IT from much of the heavy lifting and man-hours through its automation and self-service provisioning capabilities. What could have taken weeks can be done in just a couple of hours.
You’re looking to boost overall productivity
When departments no longer have to wait weeks for IT to build, install, configure, and integrate the servers and applications needed to support their individual projects, productivity can go through the roof. Business units can use the time gained to explore and undertake more projects than they normally would in a traditional setting.
You’re looking to cut time-to-market
The ability to rapidly deploy servers and applications can greatly improve your time-to-market. Because product managers and their teams can quickly get what they need (at least from the IT side of things), they can roll out products and services faster.
You’re looking to improve business agility
A private cloud’s ability to rapidly scale computing resources according to each business unit’s needs can greatly improve overall business agility. As each business unit becomes more responsive, the entire organisation as a whole can quickly adapt to the changing demands of its clientele, the market, and its direct business environment in general.
Aren’t these also addressed by public clouds?
As you’ve probably noticed, if you’re familiar with the more popular concept of public clouds, the characteristics and benefits of a private cloud are strikingly similar to public clouds. They are. If so, then why not go for public clouds where you can save on CAPEX for the underlying infrastructure?
While on-premise private clouds (as opposed to the virtual private clouds offered by third party cloud service providers) do require a large capital investment for the underlying infrastructure, it has its own advantages. First, you have full control over the underlying infrastructure, including the hardware, networking equipment, hypervisors, cooling, and so on. You also have full control of security.
Although reputable CSPs offer quality infrastructure components and top-notch security, you simply might have your own preferences. Having full control over your entire infrastructure can mean a lot, especially if your corporate data privacy policies prohibit you from putting a large chunk of your data in a public cloud.